We are living in an age of significant fiery rhetoric. I don’t know if our time is an age of especially high rhetoric when compared to other points in history but I am secure in stating that we are being regularly exposed to the lengthy and sustained diatribes of various world leaders who seem fixated on pointing out the ills of others. I always thought that Human Rights should be a minimum standard, a low water mark that all nations should strive to achieve, something like the Kyoto Protocols for the body and mind of one’s fellow man, but instead the concept is being employed as a psychological weapon; a whip to be employed against rivals on the world stage.
America and Iran have been lashing each other these days like a couple of prisoners in a cell block chain fight. France, Israel, and Nicaragua have weighed in with criticisms of their own this week. There are quite frankly too many broadsides to briefly outline. Countries don’t shoot off inflammatory remarks at each other of course, their various elected or appointed figureheads do. The ills of a given society however are something the whole nation is culpable for in one way or another. Therein lies the crucial dynamic; one single person can point the finger at the problems requiring a whole nation to fix. I guess that’s why it’s a tactic employed so often; it’s easy to do and hard to prevent.
What I see is that attacks against the policies of one country are being made by members of another nation who has an equally spotty record in some other regard. Iran is getting rightly blasted for their treatment of gays by the Americans, who are at the same time host to a racially-charged series of incidents known internationally now as the Jena Six. France is giving us dire warnings about the nuclear ambitions of Iran meanwhile they’ve all but segregated and ghettoized their own Muslim population. Nicaragua’s got a lot to say about American imperialism but they run some of the most notorious prisons in the world. No country on earth is so peerless that they can cast dispersions without coming off as hypocrites. Even peaceful, benevolent Canada's batting average isn’t all that stellar. We along with the United States, Australia, and New Zealand are the nations who declined to sign the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples not too long ago because I guess our government prefers our First People the way they are; all fucked up and living the hell away from the rest of us.
What I’m coming to understand is that as human civilizations around the globe mature they each become misanthropic in their own special way. What I can’t figure out is the pay-off for pointing these problems out and preventing alliances in the doing; why bother with these anti-diplomatic pursuits? The world seems content to have its’ leaders bring attention to the ills of others all the while ignoring the one’s easily found in their own backyard. What is the underlying message to be understood within this ongoing behaviour? Sure WE can be shitty at times but THEY are much worse. Yes WE have been bad but THEY are the bad guys. If that’s what this all boils down to then what a bloody waste of time.
If today’s links have a theme then I guess it would be nations talking shit about each other or being shitty to their own kind. Just the kind of rainy day reading you need, right?
First we have the man of the hour, Ahmadinejad. His visit to America has been big news. The man is a great debater and a smooth orator but he also seems arrogant. I don’t know what points he thought he was going to score in open debate with America but in the end there was one thoughtless statement that ruined his credibility. If he can obviously lie about there being no homosexuals in the seventy million strong Republic of Iran, what else might he be lying about?
He got another chance to slag Bush at The U.N. Assembly along with a bunch of other lesser powers. Why shouldn’t they when Bush turned around and did the same thing to them?
America’s treatment of the Iraqi population has hit a new low with news surfacing that snipers ‘bait’ supposed insurgents by leaving bomb parts and ammo out in the open for anyone to find. Should – for example – a destitute Iraqi pick it up in hopes of trading it for some fresh water then BOOM, HEADSHOT! The U.S. just bagged another terrorist. There are no words… It’s just unbelievable to me.
Just a quick fact, the war is now costing something like $720 million dollars a day.
Meanwhile in Myanmar the political situation has brought protesting monks out of the woodwork. This has naturally resulted in all manner of bans, curfews and the standard suite of civilian control measures.
Closer to home a small New Jersey town reaps the benefits of hating Mexicans looking for work. They make it illegal to hire an illegal, the Mexicans leave for greener pastures, and the town is now in an economic slump because no one is stopping for a snack at the diner or getting their hair done. Let situations like this serve as a clear indicator as to what is really going on with this whole illegal immigration/broken borders thing. If the whole “they took are jobs” mantra has proven false in a real world test then what else is there left except for good old fashion bigotry?
If you were wondering about that whole Canada and Native Rights thingy…
Finally I’ll leave you with some historical items, one of shit talking and one of shit giving. Sputnik was launched fifty years ago amidst the Golden Age of rhetoric; The Cold War. This article is an interesting retrospective on how the space race played into the politics of those times. Also fifty years ago this week the Little Rock Nine made news; black kids trying to go to an all-white high school. Jazz Timelord Louis Armstrong became a focal point when he finally became angry enough to speak his mind on the matter. The rest, as they say, became history…